A gentle reminder ...

The goal of this blog initially was for Mr. Mc to show his students and friends what he doing while in Pennsylvania and DC in 2011. Now it's being used as a place for him, travelling colleagues and former students to discuss edumacation and history related "stuff" as well as ... well, anything which pops into his head. Mr. Mc would never knowingly embarrass either the school he loves or the family he is devoted to. By joining in the discussion, he expects the same of you.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

On to DC ... 'talk may be cheap but it is necessary'

I've shared pictures more than I've written lately. That's probably a good thing. Part of what I'm trying to do while I'm at each place is to understand how the three sites and documents relate to each other. They are American icons, to be sure, but what is their common ground or, even, points of difference which might be instructive? What you see below is more a thought experiment than anything else. The 'self-evident truth-proposition-creed' connection came from the second lecture of the academy-it has been on my mind since. The stuff you see that looks scholarly and deep-I would bet came from men and women smarter than me. Spoken while on break and over meals. Their insights by themselves are worth the trip

Declaration of Independence--
Jefferson speaks of self-evident truths.
Truths are: absolute ... knowable ...obvious
Truths are truth whether we've 'evidentented' them or not.
Jefferson calls the document a 'declaration of the American mind'.
This idea of self-evident truths is the thread which goes through our best and worst days.

Gettysburg Address--
Lincoln speaks of the republic as a proposition.
A proposition is essentially a question or a premise.
(By 1860 we were the only large republic left)
The self-evident truth of equality is the central theme of the war.
(To my Lost Causers out there ... look up AH Steven's Cornerstone Speech, then, let's talk.)
The beauty of the Gettysburg Address is is humility and reverence.
The real work was done on the first three days of July in 1863.
Their actions are more important than any words Lincoln could offer.
However, its through words by which we remember and are spurred on to further action.
Talk may be cheap, but it is necessary.

As we head to DC and a discussion of the modern civil rights era, we'll start wrestling with the idea of Dr. King's American 'creed' as compared to Lincoln's proposition and Jefferson's self-evident truths. The idea I'm mulling as we board the bus is by Fredrick Douglas, " I think the American people are disposed often to be generous rather than just." Not done with the thought experiment yet, ... we'll see where it takes me.

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